BAGUIO CITY – Education officials and various sectors in the city are supportive of the stricter implementation of the existing curfew for minors from 7 pm to 5 am in order to prevent the children from being exposed to crimes that pose a serious threat to their safety.
Ann Marie Caguioa, president of the Association of Private Schools, said that since the passage of Ordinance 50, series of 2009 prescribing the rules and regulations for the curfew for minors in the city, reported crimes against children have been minimized and that private and public schools had been complying with the guidelines in the ordinance.
She said it is still best for the city to maintain the 7 pm to 5 am curfew for minors in order to make sure that children will be home right after dismissal of classes so that their parents will not always worry about their safety.
During special occasions of schools, Caguioa informed members of the city council that schools comply with the guidelines wherein they issue the concerned children with a certification that there will be a school-based activity that will end beyond 7 pm in order to be used by the minors once apprehended or investigated by the law enforcers, aside from their respective identification cards and class schedules.
Under the ordinance, the term minor is defined as individuals below 18 years old who are barred from loitering around the city beyond 7 pm until 5 am the following day except when they attend school-based activities among others sanctioned by their respective institutions.
Representatives of various private schools in the city expressed their support to the sustained and strict implementation of the curfew for minors considering that it had significantly contributed in instilling discipline among children for them to be home before the scheduled curfew.
The school representatives also attested that the implementation of the curfew for minors was effective through the years, thus, there is no need to repeal or amend the existing ordinance.
Superintendent Leon Taleo of the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) operations division revealed that from January to the middle of June this year, there were around 225 minors who were rounded up and either given counselling by social workers prior to the turnover to their parents or were immediately fetched by their parents at the city social welfare and development office or at the BCPO women and children’s desk located in Burnham Park.
He said law enforcers had been religiously implementing the ordinance prescribing the curfew for minors considering that they always make surprise inspections at the various computer shops and other gaming establishments where minors often stay, in order to effect the invitation of those minors who still play in the said establishments without being accompanied by adults or not within school-based activities.
The council invited concerned sectors to air their views on pending initiatives by some councilors to introduce amendments to the ordinance on the curfew for minors and to ascertain the effectivity of the existing ordinance in preventing the commission of crimes against minors./Dexter A. See